Streaks: good or bad?

Now I’d like to write my thoughts on “streaks”.

The platform I’m holding my blog has the notification of announcing your posting streak every time you hit “publish”. It is motivating to see that streak number goes higher and higher, especially when it’s over 30, and then 50, and then 80.

I didn’t care about keeping streaks until I did it without knowing it. I was used to ignore things like that, since I didn’t like that pressure a single number puts on me. A two-day streak or a five-day streak doesn’t matter. Since it’s not difficult to achieve, it doesn’t hurt to lose it.

One day after publishing a post, I noticed I’ve achieved the 30-day mark. “This is doable. I might just keep it.” I thought.

But there’s immediately a problem. Keeping the streak for the sake of “keeping the streak” in the system can make you do some insincere things. You can post some random words and then hide the post immediately, to get the streak going; then you can add content to the post the next day. The good thing is the streak is kept and you can keep going; the bad thing is it’s… cheating. And cheating the system is meaningless, and stupid. Yet you feel compelled to do it anyway.

The purpose of keeping the streak to post is meant to keep me moving, at least a little bit every day. But the streak itself – the means – gets in the way of the real work and blurs the real purpose.
Just when got overwhelmed for a day, I missed that post. The 80-day streak is broken. And it’s been hard for me to keep going since then.

So, is keeping streaks a good mechanism to motivate or not? How should we balance the work itself (creating) and the means (keeping the streak to create ever day) to get to our goals?


If you are not your own boss…

Then you should be!

Just kidding.

My question is this: if you are not your own boss, meaning you are working for somebody else,

Why do you work?

What is the reason(s) for you to keep working for this employer?

For the money? Sure. But, is money the only factor here?

I’ve seen people who work for a company because it’s good money. Easy money, really.

Easy but sufficient money. They don’t care about the job itself. They don’t have to put themselves on the hook.

It’s ok. They are not required to put in emotional labor.

But if you are somebody who cannot stop caring what you do, you are in trouble.

You will suffer, as long as you are on the wrong job.

Under the wrong boss.

In the wrong team.

Facing the wrong clients.

In the wrong department/company.

So, why do you work? Why are you still where you are? Where do you want to go?

What do you want to feel when you do what you “have to do” — your work?

I can’t stop caring. That’s my curse and my blessing.

A boss has to show me that she’s worth my work and my caring. Because I carry emotional labor at whatever I do.

I’m not just working for the money. Money is a must for me, like it is for 99% of the people in the job market.

But I work because I want to know that my work means something to some people.

I work because I can help, I can provide, I can serve.

Don’t say “you are such a millennial”. Because this world is already sliding into the hands of the millennials.

Meaning has already become a must. It’s not unnecessary, pretentious or hypercritical.

Searching for meaning shows someone does care.

And for an employer, someone who do the work while caring is the most valuable.

Whatever you are doing, don’t stop caring.

Don’t give up your “why”.

More time and more money? Pay attention to this

Guess what it is.

Grand goal? Endurance? Persistence?

They are all important… but there’s something that are in front of our eyes the whole time, but we sometimes choose not to see them.

When we talk about our work, our encounters with our clients and partners, what always seem invisible but crucial?

You have your goals set, plans made, ideas validated and you have started working on achieving them.

You encounter roadblocks and you overcome them; you have problems and you solve them.

You generate new ideas despite it’s difficult and frustrating as hell.

Still, something still so small are still causing troubles. They are everywhere and they really frustrate us.

Because if we fail to see them, we’ve got to redo our work, and the setback can mean days, weeks, or worse.

They are called “details”.

No matter whether you think you are a “big picture” person or an executioner, a dreamer or a producer, you are a fool if you say that you don’t need to care about the details.

Even for trials, details are significant indicators to whether something might work or not. Every designer should know that.

Some details might really don’t matter that much. But the ability to pay attention to detail is a must have. Because you don’t know which one detail is more important than others when you are in the flow of creating.

Time is the most valuable currency. Lacking of attention to details turns out to be extremely costly.

So if you want to be productive and rich, you know I’m right.

Creative juices not flowing? No time to create? Try doing this first

Not having enough time and not having the right idea are the two big roadblocks for the creatives.

As someone working in the creative fields, we expect ideas coming and hitting us in the head. The working process is like water flowing from the faucet. 

“Just do it.” They say. 

But nobody tells us how. Like it’s all going to happen by some magical power. No intention of yourself. No decision to be made.

“It’s not in my hand,” the artist says, “God put it in my head and He holds my hand.”

It’s a nice picture. But it’s also just not how most of the creators and artists work.

We think we don’t need time solely designated for creative work. Because when it’s time, the process is going to carry out by itself.

We think we don’t need to make decisions to prioritise. Because of course the creative process has the priority — when its the time for it.

But if we, as the creators, don’t intentionally make the decision to prioritise the work, we won’t be able to have the time we need to produce, to deliver the work.

To prioritise means intentionally to do something first, to give it more attention and time.

It’s a decision to be made.

Making such decisions is actively taking responsibility in our creative lives. Even if we are the receiver of Godly creations of arts, this is the only thing that we shouldn’t stop doing.

Prioritise so that you have the time for the space so that ideas can come to you as they will.

What hinders your creativity the most?

Since I call myself a writer, I’m ashamed to say that my most prolific time of writing is when I was in school.

We had two writing classes per week. Every class was 90 minutes long. We got a writing prompt at the beginning of the class, and we spent the rest of the time conceptualizing and composing. 

When I was in college, I changed my writing routine to every Friday afternoon for two hours. My reason to only have two hours per week was that I had other classes to focus on – my college major was not Creative Writing. So two hours of writing was all that I deserved. 

It’s been three years since I graduated with my M.A. I had been struggling with writing all the time. Much more than before. 

I didn’t call myself a writer. Not when I was not published. Not when I didn’t have a writing schedule that could make me feel my “flow of inspiration” and “water spring of productivity”.

Now I do see myself as a writer. Because I write regularly anywhere online, and I have an audience.

Someone reads my story and likes it. That is good enough for me to keep writing.

Writing is creating, and self-caring for me. The creative aspect of it sometimes serves the opposite purpose of self-caring.

To be completely honest, it stresses me out.

It stresses me out because it’s “supposed” to be in some way. Like the girls are supposed to be obedient and the boys must be tough. 

Creativity starts personal and private. What’s personal and private is subjective. What’s subjective is never limited to being in some “supposed-to-be” way.

It’s that simple.

So yeah, I started conceptualizing this post by making the following list:

What does not hinder your creativity:

  • gadgets
  • big chunk of time
  • endless resources
  • huge pool/endless information

What actually hinder your creativity:

  • perfectionism
  • impatience
  • inflexibility/stubbornness
  • lack of confidence

But I’m just going to let all of this go for now.


Despite it’s true, that we don’t need gadgets, a big chunk of time, much information to be creative, and it’s true that we need to work on our perfectionism, impatience, stubbornness, and lack of confidence, the only way to be creative and keep being creative is by simply doing it.

Doing it without considering the word that carries tons of weight — “be creative”.

That word can make things really difficult if you put that on your shoulder.

“I’m a creator so I need to be creative and I have to keep being creative…”

No. Just create. And create some more. 

Find your time. Enjoy your time to create and work on your craft.

Find your audience who appreciate your voice.

That’s enough. Do your work, and have fun.

So my conclusion is this: what hinders my creativity the most is the burden of the word “creativity” entails.